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Social Work Students in the News

Brittany Dwyer Receives John J. Hughes Scholarship

Brittany Dwyer, a senior in the Department of Social Work, was recently selected to receive the John J. Hughes “Overcoming the Odds” Scholarship.

The scholarship was created in recognition of Hughes, who founded Mason’s social work program and was committed to undergraduate social work education and supporting students who face and overcome adversity.

Dwyer was selected based on her academic achievement and a personal statement describing her accomplishments as well as obstacles she has overcome. She works 10 to 20 hours per week during the school year and full time during the summer months to help finance her education.

“My family and I have faced many obstacles, including financial instability, personal losses, and health challenges. Despite these ordeals, my desire to help others has only grown stronger. The hurdles I’ve overcome have undoubtedly shaped my personality and contributed to my desire of becoming a social worker,” Dwyer said. “This scholarship will help me complete my senior year at George Mason and fulfill a desire to serve my community.”


Mason Students Participate in Caring for the Caregiver Hack

A group of six Mason students participated in The Lindsay Institute for Innovations in Caregiving’s “Caring for the Caregiver Hack.” Mason’s team included Brinda Somasundaram, MS in health informatics student; Noelle Harvey, gerontology graduate certificate student; Nu Kim Nhat Nguyen, BS in community health student; Aloksagar Panny, MS in health informatics student; Tina Jackson, BS in nursing student; and Pavan Sai Mohan Kolli, a graduate teaching assistant in computer science. The student team was accompanied by Maureen Schafer, term assistant professor of nursing, as a faculty coach.

The hack event is designed to provide students from Virginia colleges and universities the opportunity to create technological tools with a focus on improving the physical or emotional health of family caregivers. Prior to starting development, attendees heard presentations from subject matter experts on some of the realities caregivers face.

The 2016 challenge was for teams to create a technology tool to stay healthy. The Mason team developed a secure web page that was framed within the model of caring for the homebound patient with mind, body, and spirit wellness actions. The website was geared towards an efficient and effective holistic approach towards the care of the patient and their caregivers. The goal of the interactive website was to offer structure with improved communication across all caregivers helping the homebound patient.


Five CHHS Students Receive Provost Scholar Athlete Awards

Five CHHS students were recognized with the Provost Scholar Athlete Award during a campus reception and at the men’s basketball game against VCU in late February.

The Provost Scholar Athlete Award was created in 2009 by Provost Emeritus Dr. Peter Stearns to honor student athletes who have earned at least 38 credit hours at Mason and have a cumulative grade point average of 3.75 or higher. A total of 41 student athletes were recognized this year.

The five CHHS awardees are: 

  • Lynne Eisenberg (2nd award)—Track and Field, Integrative Studies with a minor in Rehabilitation Science
  • Megan Gooding—Rowing, Community Health
  • Elizabeth Kearns (2nd award)—Rowing, Social Work
  • Bailey Kolonich—Cross Country/Track, Nursing
  • Marcella Sims—Rowing, Social Work

Mason Students Named Grantmakers in Aging Fellows

Three Mason students, including two CHHS students in the Department of Social Work, were named Grantmakers in Aging (GIA) Fellows for 2015.

Sonya Hudson, MSW student; Elena Keydel, MSW student; and Johanna O'Loughlin, PhD student in the School of Public Policy, Government and International Affairs, were recognized during the GIA Fellows reception on October 28 as part of GIA’s annual conference in Washington, DC.

Learn more about their accomplishment.